Entering this game, the Calgary Flames were riding a winning streak like they were Jon’s mom at a ‘Thunder Down Under’ show. The Bruins headed to Calgary and extinguished the Flames with a steady stream of goals, okay goaltending and The Davids.
Let’s get the easy nut out of the way. Anton Khudobin let in some really, really bad goals. He was credited for the win but he wasn’t even close to the reason they won. In fact, if they lost the game – he probably would have been the scapegoat tonight. It sucks to say, but the Dougie Hamilton goal was so fucking terrible, so unbelievably dreadful that Anton Khudobin should never play another NHL game this season.
The problem in Boston is that they don’t have a real backup goaltender. They don’t have an Antti Raanta or Scott Darling. They have Anton Khudobin, Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban and all three have had some real struggles in the NHL this season. I am probably being harsher on Khudobin than I need to be, but last night’s display was not good. It helps that Calgary hit the pipe like they were doing their best Rob Ford impression.
But enough about the backup goaltender. In the end, I guess the only thing that matters is the W and with 13 games left, Khudobin is going to play in (maybe) two of them.
Now onto the real shit.
The Bruins offense is an absolute monster and it is led by Brad Marchand. I put this tweet out earlier:
I 100% stand by this. This season, in the Lord’s year 2017, Brad Marchand is the best winger in the NHL. You want stats to back it up? I’ll give you stats. I’ll give you so many stats your fucking head will start spinning. But let’s start out with an easy stat:
- Brad Marchand leads in the NHL in goals with 36. The next wingers close to him? Max Pacioretty and Patrick Laine with 33.
- Brad Marchand is tied for the lead league in points with 76. He is tied with Patrick Kane (gross).
Now let’s get a little more technical:
- Brad Marchand is second in the NHL in corsi among players who have played over 750 minutes (5v5).
- Brad Marchand is 23rd in the NHL for goals/60 among players who have played over 750 minutes (5v5).
- Brad Marchand is 8th in the NHL for points/60 among players who have played over 750 minutes (5v5).
Basically all of this tells you that Brad Marchand is playing at an elite level. To say that Brad Marchand is the best winger this season in the NHL isn’t a stretch by any means. It isn’t knocking Kane (gross), Benn or Kucherov. Instead, it is highlighting that a guy like Marchand has elevated his game to a level not many people believed he could reach.
Without this level of play from 63, the Bruins probably aren’t fighitng for a playoff spot. Given that he’s had seven game winning goals this season – you could realistically take 8-10 points away from Boston and they’d be closer to Philadelphia at 74-72 points than four points out of first place in the Atlantic Division.
Alright – let’s get into the rest of the recap:
God dammit David Backes. I took a healthy dump all over the David Backes contract, but things like last night make me happy he’s playing in Boston. For those that missed it, Backes took a nasty spill into the boards and it was thought he could have been out for a long, long time.
Instead, Backes missed the rest of the first period, came back for the second and scored a goal.
And what a gorgeous snipe that was. Do I still hate the Backes contract? Yes. He only has 15 goals and is getting paid a buttload of money (and a No Movement Clause) and you’d think that this would be the most productive year because he will get older, BUT, I’ll take it over Milan Lucic’s contract any day.
Fuck you Milan Lucic.
The Pastakraken was out in full force last night. Fun fact about David Pastrnak from our good buddy Kirk Luedeke:
It’s like this David kid is going to be a special player in the NHL. Who knew?
But Pastrnak did was Pastrnak does best and that’s light the lamp. He scored goal number 29 and 30 last night, but 29 was incredibly impressive.
30 was an empty net goal so it doesn’t really count.
This goes back to my “Bruins have a real goal scorer on every line” thing from earlier and why I advocated to keep Frank Vatrano on the third line. Although he has cooled off (one point in his last five games), the Bruins have the ability to ice a line where a guy in a threat. Marchand and Pastrnak? Uber threats. We’re talking threat level orange type of threat when it comes to putting the puck in the net.
Having those guys on different lines makes so much sense and while the Pastrnak-Bergeron-Marchand line was a sploosh machine, limiting the offense to one line is stupid.
David Pastrnak – take a bow son.
Chad, man. Love you, mean it. I’ve always said that Chad Johnson is one of the nicest guys in the NHL and was such a treat to have on the Bruins. But man, was I happy you were in net for the Flames last night.
Matt Beleskey scored a goal you guys!
I’m quite the sarcastic cunt, but I truly am glad that Beleskey got on the board. Although it is only his third goal this season and his contract is an absolute tire fire humping a wax doll museum I….
Fuck I lost my train of thought.
The Penalty Kill continues to be one of the best in the NHL. Last night the Bruins entered the game 2nd best in the NHL when down a man and ended the game as the best team in the NHL. Last night could have been a real problem given that Boston gave Calgary two power plays early in the first period, but the Bruins PK hung in there.
You can’t be the best PK in the NHL if you don’t commit penalties.
Khudobin wasn’t great. Then again, I’ve said my piece and in the end the only real thing that matters with a backup goaltender is wins, right?
Seeing Dougie Hamilton on the ice. I know the history behind him not being here in Boston, but watching him play last night reminded me that he is a high level talent. Say what you want, the kid is is having his best season of his career in Calgary this season.
Do yourself a huge favor and listen to ‘The Optional Skate’! It is DOY’s hockey podcast. Seriously, how haven’t you heard this before?